Young Couple Suggest Actions You Can Take TODAY to Get a Lock on Your Financial Future
Improve YOUR Financial Future Like this Young Couple!
Alred and Myra Lockridge, of Newport Mass talk about their approach to actions people can take to improve their financial future:
Alfred, sitting in the Lockridge livingroom with his wife, started off. "Myra and I certainly value material things and as well we like knowing our bills are paid, so for us, money matters. We try to dedicate the required time to find out as much as we can about finance, so that we can remain in control so to speak, and above all avoid stress.
"A couple, or an individual, should carefully study how much money they make" said Agnes, and how much they spend when they are planning their budget. The first thing they need to do is take a realistic look at how much money they have coming in. They should not forget those sometimes hidden secondary sources of income either. For us it is optimal to live within our means by not spending more than we earn.
Alred sipped his coffee. "Some old wise man once said I believe 'Save your pennies--literally!" That is a good piece of advice.
I choose a container, something like one of those big mason jars they pickle things in and that makes it difficult to get into, so I don't rob myself in a weak moment. Then I Drop all of my pocket change into the jar and when it's full, treat myself and Agnes to something fun.
"Like a movie on Saturday night!" addes Agnes, smiling.
"Yes" said Alred "And Depending on the size of your 'jar'it could be a great vacation. That loose change can really add up."
The Lockridges said that when they are preparing to make their budget, they need to make a list of all possible expenses, within reason, so they can get a clear picture of where their money is going. " This list should include" said Angnes, "all regular payments and those occasional payments. Don't forget important things like your insurance premium if you have one, and the great cost of keeping your car running. Also we include anything we spend on entertainment, on food or on other miscellaneous expenses like, in our case, storage space rental where Alred keeps his collection of stuffed animal-heads that I don't like having in the house."
"Lastly" said Alred, " we are certain to include minor or what you might call rare expenses, like our morning mocha or the money we pay to the boy who cuts our grass. . We like to have a comprehensive list of all cash going out, across our household in order for us to develop a realistic budget."
In the case of Alred and Agnes once they have a clear idea of their cash flow, they can start working on a budget that they can live with. They think about expenses that they could eliminate entirely, or modify at any rate, to save them money. For example, they look at how much money they would save by carrying their coffee to work in a reusable, covered mug instead of stopping on the route to, as Agnes put it: " purchase overpriced coffee in a wasteful, disposable cup." This couple likes to look carefully at every expenditure they have, to determine if it is something that they can do without.
When asked about more tips, Agnes added: "After Alred and I finish a meal, we do not throw away the leftovers. Instead, we wrap these up and use it as part of a meal for the next day or as a snack while watching Jay Leno. For us, conserving every piece of food is very important in reducing our grocery costs each month.
"If our monthly utilities are becoming increasingly more expensive" said Alred, " we may want to consider repairing or upgrading different areas of our home. There are many things in our home that could be causing our bills to be higher than they should. Agnes is careful to only use her dishwasher when its full. Also, she never runs her washing machine unless she has a full load of laundry...do you sweetie?"
Agnes smiled and volunteered more ideas:
"Switching over to energy efficient appliances as we have done, makes a big difference in our energy bill. Also, we like to unplug anything that has one of those always-on indicator lights. Anything we can do to save on our energy use will benefit our pocketbook and just as important, help the planet in it's struggle against global warming."
I asked Alred if he was finished with his ideas, but he shook his head and quickly added more.
" Overall I think we have learned to live frugally as a way of life. We have only one car and since our car is probably the second most expensive item in our budget, after our home, that adds up! This is really a short-term strategy to help us catch up on bills and build up our savings, rather than an ongoing lifestyle change."
"That reminds me," said Agnes, "we also evaluate our current insulation, ceiling and roofing both, for possible upgrades and/or repairs to ensure we are not losing our cool (so to speak) or our warm air unnecessarily. Alred and I take the time to maintain these areas so we save money in the long haul I think."
All in all, after speaking to this bright young couple, I drew the conclusion that most people will experience success in keeping their cash flow and spending in check if they use some of these sensible ideas. Importantly remember that any money that you spend on improving your home will save you more money in the long run by way of lower utility bills. Once your bills are wrestled to the ground and under your control, you will have much needed financial room to maneuver.